May 25th, 2009 9:10 AM by Lehel Szucs
Subject: FW: sack lunch
I put my carry-on in the luggage compartment and sat downin my assigned seat. It was going to be a long flight.'I'm glad I have a good book to read. Perhaps I willget a short nap,' I thought.
Just before take-off, a line of soldiers came down theaisle and filled all the vacant seats, totally surroundingme. I decided to start a conversation.. 'Where areyou headed?' I asked the soldier seated nearest to me.'Petawawa. We'll be there for two weeks for specialtraining, and then we're being deployed to Afghanistan
After flying for about an hour, an announcement was madethat sack lunches were available for five dollars. Itwould be several hours before we reached the east, and Iquickly decided a lunch would help pass the time.
As I reached for my wallet, I overheard soldier ask hisbuddy if he planned to buy lunch.
'No, that seems like a lot of money for just a sacklunch. Probably wouldn't be worth five bucks. I'llwait till we get to base'
His friend agreed.
I looked around at the other soldiers. None were buyinglunch. I walked to the back of the plane and handed theflight attendant a fifty dollar bill. 'Take a lunch toall those soldiers.' She grabbed my arms and squeezedtightly. Her eyes wet with tears, she thanked me. 'Myson was a soldier in Iraq ; it's almost like you aredoing it for him.'
Picking up ten sacks, she headed up the aisle to where thesoldiers were seated. She stopped at my seat and asked,'Which do you like best - beef or chicken?'
'Chicken,' I replied, wondering why she asked.She turned and went to the front of plane, returning aminute later with a dinner plate from first class.'This is your thanks.'
After we finished eating, I went again to the back of theplane, heading for the rest room. A man stopped me.'I saw what you did. I want to be part of it. Here,take this.' He handed me twenty-five dollars.
Soon after I returned to my seat, I saw the Flight Captaincoming down the aisle, looking at the aisle numbers as hewalked, I hoped he was not looking for me, but noticed hewas looking at the numbers only on my side of the plane.When he got to my row he stopped, smiled, held out his hand,an said, 'I want to shake your hand.'
Quickly unfastening my seatbelt I stood and took theCaptain's hand. With a booming voice he said, 'I wasa soldier and I was a military pilot. Once, someone boughtme a lunch. It was an act of kindness I neverforgot.' I was embarrassed when applause was heardfrom all of the passengers.
Later I walked to the front of the plane so I could stretchmy legs. A man who was seated about six rows in front of mereached out his hand, wanting to shake mine. He leftanother twenty-five dollars in my palm.
When we landed I gathered my belongings and started todeplane. Waiting just inside the airplane door was a man whostopped me, put something in my shirt pocket, turned, andwalked away without saying a word. Another twenty-fivedollars!
Upon entering the terminal, I saw the soldiers gatheringfor their trip to the base. I walked over to them andhanded them seventy-five dollars. 'It will take you sometime to reach the base. It will be about time for asandwich. God Bless You.'
Ten young men left that flight feeling the love and respectof their fellow travelers. As I walked briskly to my car,I whispered a prayer for their safe return. These soldierswere giving their all for our country. I could only givethem a couple of meals.
It seemed so little...
A veteran is someone who, at one point in his life, wrote ablank check made payable to ' United States ofAmerica ' for an amount of 'up to and including mylife.'
That is Honor, and there are way too many people in thiscountry who no longer understand it.'
May God give you the strength and courage to pass thisalong to friends on your email buddy list....